It’s braking time!



Taking a look at the bearings and brakes on the camper


I spent some time today disassembling the wheels and checking the brake units on the camper. As I suspected the bearings were in good shape and a quick cleaning and repacking was in order.

The Brakes

I can’t say the same for the brake units. This camper has electric brakes. They are small 7′ by 1 1/2″ units. The passenger side was a total disaster. When I removed the drum/hub the brake pad material literally dropped out! Not good! So I removed the 4 nuts that hold the unit on to the axle and removed the unit.

The driver side was similar but this time the coil assembly dropped out! I attempted to get the 4 nuts off to remove the unit only one decided to break the mount stud weld inside the unit so I had to do some additional disassembly of the brake unit to get to the stud in order to get the nut off. Not really hard just annoying. But I did it.

I went to a local parts store and got some new seals and proceeded to clean and repack the bearings. And after a cleanup of the drums inside I assembled the hubs, reinstalled them, and adjusted them uneventfully.

Things To Do

So now it is an online hunt for some new brake units. No biggie. They are fully assembled and install with the four studs and nuts. Then a couple of wire hookups and we’re good to go. Literally. With fully functional brakes! Nice!



Terminating the engine compartment


Front On

Finishing up the engine compartment on Squeaky Toy

After being side-tracked doing some interior / exterior upgrades to Wun Tun Zoop I turned my attention back to the Squeaky Toy project

See that project here

This morning I took some time and attacked the engine compartment. It was mostly wiring but there were some other things that needed to be addressed. All the wiring has been strung but I hadn’t gotten around to terminating the connections. This allowed me to  re-bundle some of the wiring.

A major portion of this segment project was the front light harness. It is now an all on system. Meaning I am bypassing the whole running lights only to running lights with headlights scenario. Mine is all on or nothing. Including the sport lights. It does make it a bit simpler but it all comes from a single feed to a single point. So a multi-point terminal block and a multi-point ground block got the job done nicely. They are now located on the driver side of the radiator core support. All where they are easy to get to and easily maintained.

Light ’em up and watch the gauges!

Another section that got finalized was the gauge / ignition feeds. Not a big thing but still needed to be finished. I managed to locate my original coil mounting bracket. After a quick cleanup I gave it a nice paint job. And after a bit of rummaging around the goodie bins I found a new chrome Mallory coil. With the new coil mounted on the driver head face it was a nice wiring run with the oil sender and water temp wires.

Some smaller things were cleaning up the distributor clamp and bolt. And I fit the new heater hoses to the pump and intake. It became obvious that the heater hose routing on the new Edelbrock intake would work better with a 90 degree elbow intake fitting. So that is my shop stuff for the morrow.

While we are at it

One side bar item was that we had decided earlier in the project to install a rebuilt distributor so I went shopping online and while I was on the O’Reilly webshop I stumbled across a clearance on AI Cardone distributors! Mine was $22! Plus a small shipping charge. I fluked into a bargain. It is on its’ way!

All in all it was a productive day

It was a bit warmish but I just took it slow and took a lot of liquid breaks. I decided to quit around 3ish. So now it is a shower and Captain Morgan. So long for now. Consider yourself updated.

Power Steering Cooler Replacement

Wun Tunn Zoop

Wun Tunn Zoop

Wun Tunn Zoop gets a replacement power steering cooler assembly

I finally got around to replacing the bad cooler assembly

The power steering cooler was bad when I acquired the van and I just jumped around it way back when. I’m talking  about totally rotting to the touch. The brackets were so gone you could bend them by hand. It has been that way and I had actually went and bought a replacement  GM unit but I never put it in. It’s importance is that the diesel is a Hydro Boost braking system that uses the PS system for its’ power.Lots more fluid and stress on it.


Since I had a free morning I decided to give it a go. After a bit of scouting it was not a bad job.  The cooler is bolted to the frame under the radiator support with the lines going up  to the steering box and power steering pump. The first thing to go was the air cleaner box. It sits right in the the way of all the good stuff. With it out of the way it was an easy go to undo the line to the steering box and the return line to the pump.

The Right Tools For The Job

But … It turns  out this hard line is an 18MM. Of all my line wrenches I did not posses an 18MM. So I went to O’Reilly’s and got one. Easy enough. Then the disassembly began.  With that the line came off with a small bit of effort. Then the return line was a quick clamp removal and a pull. I was smart enough to put a drip pan under the area to catch the PS fluid.

Hair Conditioning

This is where I got a small dose of “what did I just do?” After releasing the lines and the excess fluid was drained into the the catch pan I slid it out of the way. So I thought. As I was undoing the bolts holding the damaged cooler assembly from the radiator support I shifted around a bit to get a better angle and that’s when I  dunked the whole back of my head into the fluid! Oh! Yeah! Nice! But since I was already on it I just went ahead and finished the cooler removal. Then I went inside and decontaminated with a hot shower with 3 shampoos.  Then it was back out to the job.

Hookin It All Up

It was a simple job to embed the new cooler and plumb in the lines. All connected and tight. I topped off the PS system with what I had in the shop. I may need more but that can wait till tomorrow.




Fixing the van taillights


I finally made some time to fix the taillight issue in Wun Tunn Zoop


My issue with my taillights is pretty common. What happens, at least in my case, is that when I hit the brakes with the headlights on one side dims out. It comes down to a short in the harness. These harnesses are readily available because of this very common issue on the Express vans. I have had the two new pigtails for a while now but have put off putting them in. And I am replacing both just because. I like my brake lights to work right!

It wasn’t too hard just a lot of trim to remove in order to get t o the inner structure where the cable hooks to the harness. Once that was all removed then it was a pretty simple r&r of the individual taillight harnesses. Then a quick light check validated that all the work paid off and the stop lights work as advertised. Excellent!

So I feel a whole lot better and can drive at night with no issues. On to the next project.


Another day working on the 70


Finishing up the details of the wiring

After working hard and getting the whole lawn done yesterday  I spent the day of me time doing some finishing details of the new wiring. Mostly terminating the front light harness. I put a terminal block in the trunk and that will join the trunk wiring to the main harness. And a bit of under-dash cleanup is in order after this all gets finished.

And since I wasn’t sure about some things so I called on my observant assistant , Scarecrow. He decided to help.

How can he help you ask? He did a “cat scan”!


After his assistance things went along smoothly. He suggested a couple of wiring rearranging and we should be good to go. It’s getting closer every day. And if Scarecrow sticks with me it should go a lot better. That’s it for today.

And so after sharing a well deserved steak dinner with Faye Dean it is time to relax, water all the plants, sit here and chill on the patio with some Eric Clapton cranking on the music box. Nice!

Hope your day went well. Later!


HHR power steering is fixed …


but the exhaust is toast!

Power Steering Assist Motor

The oem GM power steering assist motor which I acquired last week went in without a problem. The only sidebar for the r&r is that the brackets under the dash are frickin sharp! Wear a glove! After “putting a little bit of myself” into the project and patching myself up, THEN putting on a glove, it all went very smoothly. Excellent!

EPS power assist motor

Now for the exhaust

Since I was already rummaging around on the HHR this morning I decided to do some discovery on a new woofing exhaust noise coming from the rear driver quarter. So after dragging out the trusty cardboard work cushion I scooted under that area but nothing appeared to be amiss. Then I went back to the muffler area. That revealed that the mid-mount pin had rotted off. Not a big issue since there is another at the muffler tail and it was intact. But not a good thing. On first viewing I did not see any other issues.

That’s when I decided to go ahead and start it up and see if I could pin it down. Once started the sound began. I crawled back under to locate this aggravating noise.  To make it easier to locate I put my hand over the exhaust outlet to make some back pressure. And that did it! It was bleeding out in a pair of sections but from UNDER the heat shielding that is welded to the tube. Not visible from a simple look. Time for a new exhaust system!

The exhaust system on the HHR is pretty much like any other late model system an a 1-piece welded system. But, sadly, it is not stainless. So it is replaced in pieces parts. I’m not fooling around and just making it all go away. After some quick web searching I was able to locate the needed numbers for the Walker replacement parts. #56154 Exhaust resonator and pipe / #21572 Muffler. Now with the numbers on hand I made a quick call to my local supplier and they are on their way and should be available in a couple of hours. I am sure the bolts on the converter flange are most likely crap. I will just chuck them put in some new SS hardware.

So I guess I have a afternoon job planned. First I will take break for breakfast with Faye Dean and then tackle the rest later on. Not a real big job just awkward. But with  a sawzall and some determination anything is possible! Right?! And , YES!, I will be wearing gloves!